Day 201: keys to the kingdom

Isaiah 21:1-10 Elam and Media comprised the Persian Empire that conquered Babylon in the late eighth century BC. Babylon had lived luxuriantly and complacently and, therefore, was ill prepared for such an attack. The prophet watched for messengers on horseback to bring news of Babylon’s fall-news that finally arrived. The image of Babylon’s defeat figures prominently in the Book of Revelation, where Babylon symbolizes all the oppressors and idolaters throughout the history of salvation.

Ch 21:11-17 A brief prophecy against Dumah, which probably refers to Edom, reminds through a riddle that punishment (night) must follow prosperity and peace (morning). This prophecy against Arabia warns its citizens will face a similar fate in the near future. 

Ch 22:1-14 This prophecy warned the people of Jerusalem against excessive self-satisfaction over the failure of Sennacherib’s siege in 701 BC. The people soon forgot that it was God’s intervention that actually saved the city; instead of repentance and conversion, they went back to their sinful and selfish lifestyles. They lived as pagans, who ate gluttonously and acted on their lustful desires. 

Ch 22:15-25 Shebna was an ambitious official in the court of King Hezekiah who was replaced by Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. It was Eliakim who attempted to negotiate peace with the Assyrians during the siege of Jerusalem. He functioned as the chief steward of the king by managing both his household and the affairs of the court. This image of the key appears in the Gospel as Christ gave Peter the power of the keys with a similar authority over his Church (cf. Mt 16:19). (CCC 553, 567, 981, 1444)

Nahum 3:1-19 Nineveh’s sins and brutality toward the Jews were a cause for Nahum’s satirical gloating over its destruction given the atrocities it heaped on the Jewish People. The Assyrian king was a special target of Nahum’s sarcasm over the Assyrians’ coming defeat. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much for your faithfulness. We thank you for your goodness, your justice, and your righteousness. Help us to live in righteousness. Help us to live in right relationship with each other, and with you above all things. Lord God, help us to have right hearts in ourselves and not be our own enemies, our own worst enemies. But Lord God, help us to have that knowledge, that wisdom that we actually do speak what is true, we live what we know to be true, and we cling to you above everything else in this world. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”